Alan cruises the Med on MSC’s Splendida and finds this ship a splendid choice for families …
MSC Splendida was launched 5 years ago as one of the Fantasia class of ship. At nearly 1,100 feet long, 124 feet wide and weighing in at a fraction under 138,000 tons this is a big ship by any standard catering for over 4,000 passengers. Best described as a resort, as in reality that is just what it is, a resort at sea. A white superstructure with contrasting dark blue funnel, writing and glass on the balconies this is a ship that stands out from the crowd.
17 bars and lounges, 2 main restaurants, a buffet area that must be one of the biggest on a European cruise ship split into Bora Bora and Pago Pago. The Strand Theatre, a 3 tier auditorium which produces some amazing shows. An Aqua Park with water spraying palm trees, pools, water jets and a large outdoor cinema screen plus a tube water slide. L’Equadore, another pool area with Jacuzzis which boasts a sliding roof so it can be used in bad weather. Playa del Sol at the rear of deck 15 has a further pool and Jacuzzi’s. There are areas for younger children and on deck 16 is Virtual World, the F1 Simulator and a 4D cinema.
Whilst this is a family orientated ship there are areas that allow you to move away from the family environment if you want to. The first is ‘Top 18’, an adult only area where for an extra charge, payable for the cruise, daily or on a half day basis, you can enjoy your time on a Rattan Lounger whilst chilling out with a drink, soaking up the sun or just letting life drift by. The area has its own bar, Jacuzzi and towels with the name embroidered.
For those who want a totally different experience there is the MSC Yacht Club situated at the front of the ship, high up away from the other passengers. This is not an extra as is Top 18 but a different grade of fare, indeed it is a ship within a ship. The Yacht Club have their own cabins, lounges, restaurant and pool area. A private bar on the pool area with bowls of fruit added and drinks are all included. Pay the fare and you will be attended by butlers in white gloves and tailed coats. You even have your own lift that is operated by your key card.
After sunset the ship takes on a totally different set of clothes. The lounges produce singers, pianists and groups who provide quality music and entertainment. A pianist in the main atrium with two female violinists totally changes the ambience of the ship. The Strand Theatre gave some of the best shows I have ever seen at sea. The singers in the production ‘Italians’ Portrait of Italy had a richly deserved long lasting standing ovation. The costumes in ‘Tezca’ The Pyramid of Mystery production were fabulous. If after all this you are not ready for bed there is the ships nightclub, Le Club, decorated in bright orange, situated in the centre of the ship on deck 16. One area that was always busy with passengers was the photo gallery which occupied the largest space I have ever seen on a ship. There were always photographers with different scenes set up ready to take your picture and people queuing to have them done.
Breakfast and Dinner were usually taken in the Villa Verde main dining room where we had a table for 2 by a huge picture window overlooking the stern of the ship. When not in port the view of the ships wake disappearing into the distance often accompanied by the setting sun made a romantic setting. The quality of food received in the Villa Verde was excellent, served by the delightful Cantur and his young assistant Sahuda, the seafood being a special delight. Mussels in Red Wine sauce one evening were superb. Filipe our Head Waiter was great fun and one night supplied us with a dish of a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese drizzled with Honey, wonderful taste. Our meal in the Tex Mex speciality restaurant was again excellent, one of the best T-Bones I have had in quite a while.
Dress code on board is very relaxed. On the two formal evenings very few people dressed for the occasion whilst jeans and sports shirts were much in evidence in the main dining room. This was also true at the Captains Cocktail Party.
The question is would we cruise with MSC again ... and the answer is yes.
The ship is beautiful, the food, service and shows excellent and the facilities for families cannot be faulted. Without a doubt any family booking a cruise on Splendida will have a ‘Splendid’ cruise.
Alan Fairfax -
is a travel writer for
YOUR HOLIDAY TV
Alan also writes for the
Ashford Advertiser Media Group with regional papers across Kent with regular holiday & travel sections in all editions
Alan is also an Advisor for SilverTravelAdvisor.com
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